A prominent government lobbyist is standing by his leaked comments which slam leading scientists for speaking out about New Zealand's poor environmental record.
Mark Unsworth, of government relations consultancy Saunders Unsworth, e-mailed Massey University environmental scientist Dr Mike Joy on Wednesday in reaction to Joy's comments to the New york Times on New Zealand's 'fantastical' 100% pure image.
Mr Unsworth's email - which was sent at 12:15am under the subject line 'Ego trip' - was posted by Green Party co-leader Russel Norman on his Facebook page today.
In the emails, Mr Unsworth said although he was an academic, Dr Joy had "let his ego run riot worldwide" while risking jobs and incomes from decreased tourism.
"You guys are the Foot and Mouth Disease of the tourism industry. Most ordinary people in NZ would happily have you lot locked up," he wrote.
"You may not care given your tenure in a nice comfy University lounge, but to others this affects income and jobs.
"Give that some thought next time you feel the need to see your name in print in New York. And possibly think of changing your name from Joy to Misery-its more accurate [sic]."
The emails were posted on Dr Norman's Facebook page this afternoon, and he said Unsworth's behavior implied he wanted scientists to gag them from their academic duty to report the facts of environmental degradation.
"It's disappointing. Dr Joy is simply reporting the evidence. The clean, green brand only exists because of people like Dr Joy."
Dr Norman said corporate lobbyists exploited New Zealand's '100% Pure' image but then attempt to stop any protection of the environment which it stands on.
Mr Unsworth did not wish to comment further beyond stating he stood by the emails and they were his own personal views.
Saunders Unsworth clients include Caltex, British Gas and Air New Zealand.